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Gray's Auctioneers sale features African sculptures, masks and jazz recordings
Bunk Johnson red 10-inch vinyl LP from American Music Records, titled: 'This Is Bunk Johnson Talking, Explaining to You the Early Days of New Orleans' (American Music LP 643) (est. $80-$120).


CLEVELAND, OH.- A mid-week auction featuring an exciting decorative collection of African sculptures and masks, followed by a single-owner collection of jazz recordings, and finishing with an impressive collection of 19th & 20th Century American coins will be held Wednesday, February 20th, at 10 am Eastern time by Gray’s Auctioneers, online and live in Gray’s gallery.

The full catalog is up and pre-bidding is open at GraysAuctioneers.com. Bidding is also available on Liveauctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. In-person previews will be held Thursday thru Wednesday, Feb. 14-20, from 10-5; and Saturday, February 16th, from noon-4 pm. Gray’s gallery, for previews and auction, is at 10717 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.

“This auction is an eclectic grouping of subjects,” commented Serena Harragin of Gray’s Auctioneers. “However, it is well documented that the arts of Africa were a major influence on the art and music made in the United States and Europe in the early 20th century. So, we chose to follow the group of African sculptures and masks (lots 1-78) with a superb collection of jazz recordings” (lots 79-406).

Ms. Harragin continued, “The art of Africa was discovered by those wealthy travelers of the early 20th century who brought back African treasures. So, too, was it the wealthy elites of the jazz age whose embrace of jazz brought it to the masses. Thus, the auction ends with money, and some of the most desirable coins of the twentieth century.” (lots 407-529). Many of the coin lots are in multiples.

The auction provides a rare opportunity for collectors to break into the three main categories, or add to their existing collections, at very attractive price points. The bidding on many lots starts at under $100.

African artifacts with estimates of $80-$120, for example, include a Luba tribe (Democratic Republic of Congo) carved and painted wood moon mask with almond-shaped eyes, 17 ½ inches tall; a pair of Ivory Coast carved and painted wood Guro masks – a scorpion and an antelope, 25 ¼ inches tall; and a Senufo tribe (Ivory Coast) brass Kpelie initiation mask, 11 ½ inches tall. All are from the 20th century.

A handful of African lots have slightly higher estimates. These include a 20th century Salampasu tribe (Zaire) carved wood and copper ceremonial mask with a fiber ball coiffeur and plaited fiber and ball beard (est. $150-$250); and a pair of 20th century Nyamezi (Central Tanzania) carved wood figures – a male and a female, with inset beaded eyes – together on a metal stand, 68 inches tall (est. $100-$200).

Other lots with $100-$200 pre-sale estimates will include a 20th century Yoruba tribe (Nigeria) carved wood Ibeji female figure, 11 ¼ inches tall; a 20th century Benin brass figure of a seated female, 15 ½ inches tall; and a 20th century carved wood and metal Bamana Ntomo (Mali) mask, 18 inches in height.

The jazz recordings are from the single-owner collection of James Seidelle, who passed away in July last year. Mr. Seidelle was one of the inventors of the flight simulator, which teaches pilots how to fly. He was also a talented jazz drummer, a skillful photographer and a lifelong collector. Over 80 years he amassed a superb toy collection (sold by Gray’s in Dec. 2014), and a cherished jazz records collection. His musical instruments and a rare Slingerland drum set will be offered in Gray’s March 2019 auction.

Just a few highlights from Mr. Seidelle’s vast collection of jazz recordings will include a group of four Miles Davis vinyl LPs from various labels, being sold as one lot; a group of four Benny Goodman 10- inch shellac 78 album sets from Columbia Records; an autographed Woody Herman 10-inch shellac 78 album, signed by Herman, along with eleven Herman 10-inch shellac 78s; a Bunk Johnson red 10-inch vinyl LP from American Music Records; and a Billy Bauer vinyl LP from Norgran Records (all 20th c.).

Also sold will be Volumes I, II and III of The Complete Commodore Jazz Recordings, published by Commodore Music Shop (Mosaic MR32-123), being offered as three separate lots (each lot est. $100-$200); a group of ten Billie Holliday vinyl LPs from various labels; and a sealed Hank Jones Quartet-Quintet vinyl LP from Savoy Records. All above lots (except the Commodore set) are est. $80-$120.

The 19th and 20th century American coins will be led by a group of four partial sets of Morgan silver half dollars from 1878-1921, including 70 coins of unknown mints (est. $3,000-$3,200); a group of 73 pre-1921 Morgan silver dollars of various mints, circulated and uncirculated (est. $1,800-$2,000); and a 1924 St. Gaudens gold coin in circulated condition (est. $1,500-$1,700).

Also up for bid will be a group of six gold coins from Mexico, all from the 20th century in circulated condition, including 50, 20, 10, 2, 2.5 and 5 Peso coins of various dates and unknown mints (est. $3,600-$3,800); a group of four 1986 gold American Eagle coins, circulated (est. $3,000-$3,200); and a group of four 1910 and 1914 gold type coins, circulated, and of unknown mints (est. $3,000-$3,200).






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Gray's Auctioneers sale features African sculptures, masks and jazz recordings

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